I've spilled a few tears these past few days and I think I probably have a fairly legitimate reason. It would be pointless to sit here and type any details, besides, I am still walking that fine line between surrealism and reality and I know that soon I will have both feet firmly planted on the side of reality because that's where we live; I am making my way there and I know that eventually, this fog is going to clear.
As you may have already guessed (or heard), this is my awkward, clumsy way of saying that my marriage is over. For those of you who are cringing because you have recently sent me E-mails or left messages to the effect of, "Wow, you have an anniversary coming up! Can you believe it's almost been a whole year??", it's really OK. Of course you didn't know.
When the kids were small and more accident-prone, no matter how much blood I saw or how many stitches were required to be sewn in the forehead or finger of my wriggling little child who sounded as if s/he were part of an animal sacrifice, just as panic was about to take over and I felt as if I might crumble, I would stop and remind myself that what was happening wasn't terminal or life-threatening - and that even those deep, scary-looking gashes would eventually heal with time - and a few tubes of Neosporin. It was my way of telling myself that whoever was the central player in the latest childhood mishap, would probably bleed, may swell and that pain was probably unavoidable - but they would survive and live to get themselves in another jam, thereby offering the chance to shave a few more years off my life.
And it is true, as painful and heart-breaking as this is, we will live. We will live well. I buy into that quote about pain being unavoidable and that misery is optional. I have absolutely no interest in taking out an option on misery.
Perhaps one reason to post this unfortunate news is because actually writing the words demand that I begin to accept and believe it. Another reason I feel it necessary to post this announcement is because, as I mentioned, what would have been my first year wedding anniversary, 16 July, is less than three weeks away. OK, so there will be no celebrations, no weekend trip, no special dinner and rather than smiles, I'm sure that day will be just plain hard. How could it possibly be otherwise? The only request I will make that day, as I spend it with my family, is that we have no picnics around Fort Fisher.
Since this is pretty fresh news, I don't quite know how to write much of anything because I am still embedded in the inevitable, disorienting torrent of feelings and emotions and I'm sure many moments during the day I must be affecting a "deer in the headlights" expression on my face. It is sinking in slowly and, little by little, I understand that what is happening really is, in fact, happening. It's going to take a little time for me to get acclimated to this new, unexpected and unwelcome turn of events, but I'll get there.
I'm sure I will be writing more as I work through this period of adjustment. It goes without saying that this isn't an easy or particularly fun time for anyone in my immediate family. But just as families do - we are there for each other and my cell phone is staying busy - just another reason to be thankful for Alltel's "free mobile to mobile" service.
Connectivity is essential just now because there is such an inclination toward isolation, which is the last thing I need. Justin is demanding that I go on "errands" and steadily through the day, he does a "Mom Check". This past Sunday evening we sat in my office the entire night, crying, laughing, crying some more, lots of hugs and somehow he offered me just the right words, at just the right time. Stephanie then stepped in and forced me to eat way too many M & M's and also offered her support, along with a determination to try and divert my attention. Sweet Stephanie - what a wonderful addition she has been to our home. I grow to respect this young lady just a little more every day I am around her. Justin has very discerning taste and I think Stephanie is amazing.
Though Katie is a few hundred miles away in NYC she, too, has sent me her love and good thoughts via cell phone and E-mail, and some pretty absurd and crazy"Katie-sardonic" text messages that have forced me to giggle, as only Katie can do. Katie, I can't wait to see you and I know we're not huggy people, but gosh I want a hug from you, and then I'll sit down and obediently listen to your take on the direction my life should go. :-)
My mother is doing what she does best - cooking great food and "gently" demanding that I eat something more than chocolate. My Dad appears at just the right time and always has something wise and wry to share. What a great family I have!! What a blessed woman I am.
The one thing my family, every last one of them, have taught me, is that you can lose your patience, your attention, your thoughts, your keys and even your mind, every now and again, but you can't ever allow your sense of humor to disappear because then, you are truly in dire straits. It is almost as essential as oxygen is for my survival, and I can't imagine losing my ability to smile or laugh. What a gift it is to be able to do that, especially when things get tough. I get stressed when I'm around people who are way too serious. If I had not heard a lot of laughter in that first AA meeting I attended 2 1/2 years ago, I don't know that I would have ever hit another meeting. I know that if I allow myself to get too serious, life feels way too tedious. I refuse to let that go. That's not to say that I don't cry, and that's a wonderful release, but I almost reflexively search out something to balance the scales, because that keeps my keel even.
For now, I just want to say a special, heartfelt thank you to my incredibly supportive parents, my two amazing kids, Katie and Justin (I love you both sooooo much), and my precious cadre of friends who elicit smiles from me even when it feels impossible, and who have steady shoulders and understanding embraces.
I could not imagine navigating this difficult course without the special angels in my life and I swear I have been blessed with more than my fair share of cheerleaders and so very many guardian angels.
I know that my family and I will come out on the other side stronger, wiser and even closer, if that is possible. I will write more soon.
The last line of the afore-referenced quote is equally wonderful and gently optimistic, "Who knows what the tide could bring in?"
I trade in the currency of hope and I expect great things. I believe in it.
With so much gratitude and love,